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World’s Most Important Octogenarian Recovers from Lung Inflammation


The King of Thailand, the world’s longest-serving monarch, has been the lynchpin of the country’s political order for several decades, with his personal prestige and authority keeping Thai politics close to even keel for a long time. Thus the recent news of the King’s deteriorating health sent a shudder through the upper echelons of Thai politics.

While the AP is reporting that the King will recover, his authority has been waning for some time. The past few years have tested his popularity, and the monarchy has mixed itself in politics in a way that many Thais find disturbing. Palace society is already fracturing, as this State Department cable released by Wikileaks makes clear:

There are in fact multiple circles of players and influence surrounding the Thai royal family, often times with little overlap but with competing agendas, fueled by years of physical separation and vacillating relationships between principals. Separate centers of influence/players focus around: King Bhumibol; Queen Sirikit; Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn; Princess Sirindhorn; and the Privy Council, though the latter has less access/influence than many suppose. In addition, there are supporting bureaucratic entities such as the Office of Principal Private Secretary, the Royal Household Bureau, the Crown Property Bureau, and the Privy Purse, which employ thousands and manage assets in the billions, as well as a bevy of minor royals whose motorcades routinely clog Bangkok’s roads.

At some point in the not too distant future Thailand will have to face its problems without the presence of the closest thing there is to an indispensable man.

[King Bhumibol Adulyadej image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

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  • teapartydoc

    I hope they can avoid the kind of succession problems that have done so much damage throughout history.

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